U.S. Teams Are Undefeated After Day Two at the 2015 U-23 World Championships

Posted: July 13, 2015 03:28 PM

London, U.K. (July 13, 2015) – The United States has accumulated a 6-0 record at the 2015 World Under-23 Ultimate Championships in London after the second day of competition. All three teams have now played and won two games. 

The mixed and women’s teams both started their week of competition in the day’s first round, facing Chinese Taipei and New Zealand, respectively. Both American squads started strong and ran away with their first-round games. The mixed team defeated Chinese Taipei 17-2, and the women’s team took out New Zealand 17-1. 
The open team had the first round off after their 14-10 victory over Great Britain late yesterday afternoon. Their only game of the day pitted them against Colombia. Team U.S.A. quickly showed they had forgotten the nervousness they showed yesterday. They were firing on all cylinders, applying intense defensive pressure and moving the disc quickly and efficiently on offense. After taking half at 9-3, they put together a shutout second half to win 17-3. 
In their second game of the day, the U.S. mixed team took on India, who may turn out to be the tournament sweetheart. Team India put together a crowdfunding campaign to support their first-ever trip to the U-23 World Championships and managed to raise more than $30,000. The team is scrappy, spirited and unafraid. In less-than-ideal conditions that including gusting winds and rain in already cool temperatures, the game wasn’t exactly what either team had hoped for. Drops and slippery disc throwaways were commonplace for a time, but the athletes weathered the storm. In what, at times, felt like a closer game, the Team U.S.A. came away with a 17-8 victory. 
The most intriguing game of the day was the last for the U.S. The American women took on Japan in a rematch of the 2013 U-23 World Championships final. The U.S. faced Japan twice in Toronto and eked out both wins, 17-16 in pool play and 16-14 in the final. Several of the women competing with this year’s U-23 National Teams were also in Canada for those games: Lisa Couper, Megan Cousins, Michela Meister, Julia Snyder and Shira Stern.
Heading into today’s game, women’s team head coach Mike Whitaker said he expected nothing but a battle from the Japanese women, and that’s exactly what he got. 
The U.S. looked like the stronger team to start. Despite the rainy (again) and slightly windy conditions, each athlete looked at ease with the disc in her hands, while the Japanese women struggled initially to get a handle on their throws and catches with a slippery disc. The U.S. jumped out to a 2-0, then 4-1, lead before taking half at 9-4.
"We came out on fire with no fear of a quality opponent, and we played really, really well throughout the entire first half," said Whitaker. 
But as expected, Japan hung tight. They cleaned up their offense in the second half and earned a couple breaks back to tighten the score. They came as close as two late in the game at 15-13, but with the help of some big plays, both offensive and defensive, the U.S. was able to score the final two points to seal the deal and win with a break for a final score of 17-13.
Coach Whitaker was glad to have his team tested, particularly this early in the tournament. "I actually love in the second half that we got pushed…That was actually an ideal flow of a game for early in the tournament in that we proved we can race out early on a team, we proved that we could get pushed back and that we could finish strong."
The American defense was dialed-in throughout the game. The coaches used an array of defensive looks to keep the quick-moving Japanese women guessing. 
"They’re a fast movement, rhythm team, so we just tried to keep them uncomfortable throughout the game by changing defenses up on them," said Whitaker.
The team’s offensive line looked solid with big plays coming from all around. Shira Stern leads the team in goals so far with eight, several of which came from her Seattle Riot teammate Jaclyn Verzuh. Verzuh has been a match-up nightmare so far for opposing teams, and she has used it to her advantage. With many defenders backing her, she takes the open in cut and looks to continue the offensive flow up-field with her array of throws. Stern has ended up on the receiving end of many of those throws so far. Countless other women also stood out and will undoubtedly continue to do so throughout the course of the week. 
For now, the team is looking forward to their match up with Colombia tomorrow morning. 
"Colombia is a very, very – just like Japan – very fun opponent to play," said Whitaker. "We’ve always loved our experiences playing both Japan and Colombia, so we’re really excited to start the day with them tomorrow morning, and then we get the hosts of Great Britain in the afternoon. Tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun."
The U.S. mixed team will also face the host nation, Great Britain, tomorrow. That first game is at 11:30 a.m. BST, and they will follow it up against Germany at 3:30 p.m.
The U.S. open team is set to face Denmark in the first round tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. BST, before meeting the Netherlands at 3:30 p.m.

Follow Along: 



Photo Highlights:

Day One Facebook Gallery / Full Sunday Highlights Gallery (Ultiphotos)

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.